City Makes Playground Inspections - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/9/02

City Makes Playground Inspections

The sounds of summer can be heard resonating from your neighborhood playground. While the kids may try their favorite circus tricks, the City of Lubbock is doing its part to keep the playgrounds safe. That's because 17 children die in playground related accidents each year and 70% of all injuries occur on the playground. The department's coordinator, Ron Lewis takes us along for a mock inspection at Higginbothom park.

The first thing, inspectors check for is to make the nuts, bolts and screws that keep the equipment together are smooth and not sticking out. Lewis explains why, "You want them to be smooth and not have any sharpness sticking out that children can cut themselves on or tear their clothing." The same goes for the material that covers the equipment. The equipment is coated with a plastic material so inspectors check and make sure it's not chipped or peeling.

Now, what about those swings that kids love to play on? Lewis says, "On the swings,we look for chain lengths. Most are cast weather lengths. They're very strong. We make sure fasteners are strong and of course we make sure the rubber seats aren't torn and we check the rivets fasteners to make sure no looseness is going on there." If you see something wrong with a playground, Lewis urges you to report it. He says, "If we have a call from a citizen and something is loose, then we'll come out and fix that if we have components to do so. If we don't, we'll take the swing down until the parts are shipped in."

There's always the possibility of falling off the equipment. That's what the sand is for. It helps cushion the blow of the fall. Most parks like Higginbothom are located near a playa lake, so Lewis reminds parents to watch their children. "You have to rely on people's common sense that they're going to supervise their children or grandchildren."

Lewis also asks parents to help out when there's been bad weather. He says, "If people see branches or trees that look like they have dead branches in them, call us please and we'll get those trimmed out. Even a fallen branch is probably an invitation to play with so we'd like to get them taken away as soon as possible. "

As it turns out, parents are also the ones in charge of building new parks in the city. Neighborhood associations looked over catalogs and gave their input on what they wanted new parks in their neighborhood to look like. Bidding is underway for seven new parks and construction is set to tentatively begin by late winter or early spring.

If you notice any equipment problems or something that needs to be taken care, call the Parks and Rec department at (806) 775-2673 from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. during the week. If it's an emergency, you can call (806) 775-2685 on nights and weekends, or if you'd like to report the problem online just ( click here ).

For NewsChannel 11's Consumer Connection, I'm Sharon Maines.

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